WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA BOOKS
(Please feel free to make suggestions)
Written by Rob Neufeld, February 2007, Revised Sept. 2007
(Go back to starter list
Reading audience key: [E] Young children [C] all children [W] children with adult help [M] middle-school students [H] high school students [G] general readers [S] scholars
• Western North Carolina:; A History (from 1730 to 1913) by John Preston Arthur (1914). Out of print.
• The United States of Appalachia by Jeff Biggers (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2006) [M.H,G]
• Western North Carolina: Its Mountains and Its People to 1880 by Ora Blackmun (Appalachian Consortium Press, 1977). [G,S]
• The Prince of War: Billy Graham’s Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire by Cecil Bothwell (Brave Ulysses Books trade paperback, 2007. [G] Not a true portrait, but a pointed social study.
• Pure Bunkum: The Life and Crimes of Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Lee Medford by Cecil Bothwell (Brave Ulysses Books trade paperback, 2008). [G] Bold investigative journalism; contemporary, controversial topic.
• May We All Remember Well, Vols. 1 & 2 edited by Robert Brunk [H,G,S] Scholarly, popular articles on a wide range of subjects, deemed in danger of going undocumented.
• Asheville: A History by Nan K. Chase (McFarland trade paperback, Sept. 2007). [H,G,S] A survey of city history with compelling prose and some special passionate focuses.
• The People of the New River: Oral Histories from the Ashe, Allegeny and Watauga Counties of North Carolina by Leland R. Cooper and Mary Lee Cooper (McFarland & Co., 2001) [H,G,S] A model of local, oral history-based writing, part of an important series, “Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies.”
• Cataloochee Valley: Vanished Settlements of the Great Smoky Mountains by Hattie Caldwell Davis (WorldComm, 1997) [G]. One of a few books that Davis, a Cataloochee descendent, has written about the community displaced by the park.
• Asheville: A History by Nan K. Chase (McFarland & Company trade paperback, 2007).
• Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of the Henry Family edited by Karen L. Clinard and Richard Russell (Reminiscing Books, May 2008). [G,S]
• The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community, 1818-1937 by Durwood Dunn (U. of Tenn. Press, 1988) [G,S]
• Battle of Kings Mountain 1780, With Fire and Sword by Wilma Dykeman (National Park Service, 1991) [M,H,G]
• The French Broad by Wilma Dykeman (Wakestone Books) [M,H,G] The inaugural, 2002 TWR book; the place to start in understanding the region.
• Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation by John Ehle (Anchor, 1988) [H,G,S]
• Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880-1930 by Ronald D. Eller. (U. of Tenn. Press, 1982) [S] A revision of past faulty histories.
• Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945 by Ronald D. Eller (U. Press of Kentucky, 2008). [G,S]
• The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier edited by Mati-Lynn Evans et al. (Random House, 2004) [M,H,G,S] Book companion to PBS series, incorporating writings by people-in-the-know.
• The Family Store Book by Sharon Fahrer and Jan Schochet (City Seeds, 2006). The book that represents the exhibit of landmark sites associated with Asheville’s Jewish merchants.
• Leo Finkelstein’s Asheville and the poor Man’s Bank by Leo Finkelstein (Center for Appalachian Studies, Boone, 1998), [G,S]
• From the Banks of the Oklawaha: Facts and Legends of the North Carolina Mountains by Frank L. FitzSimons. Out of print.
• Asheville: Mountain Majesty by Lou Harshaw (Bright Mountain, 2007). Illustrated history, 368 pages. [G]
• Guide to North Carolina Highway Historical Markers, ninth edition, ed. by Michael Hill (N.C. Div. of Archives and History, 2001) [W,M,H]
• Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America by Elliot Jaspin (Basic Books, 2007). Account of Spruce Pine expulsion of African-Americans. [G,S]
• That Magnificent Army of Youth and Peace: The Civilian Conservation Corps in North Carolina, 1933-1942 by Harley Jolley (North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2007). [G,S]
• The Marion Massacre by Mike Lawing (Wasteland Press, 2004). [G,S] Account of notorious mill strike.
• Zeb Vance: North Carolina’s Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader by Gordon B. McKinney (UNC Press, 2004). [G,S]
• Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan (Algonquin hardcover, 2007).
• Asheville's River Arts District (Images of America) by Rob and Henry Neufeld (Arcadia trade paperback, July 2008). The illustrated survey of the resurgent district includes now-and-then photos,
documented history, and stories. [H,G.S]
• A Popular History of Western North Carolina by Rob Neufeld (History Press, 2007) [M,H,G,S]
• The German Invasion of Western North Carolina by Jacqueline Burgin Painter (Biltmore Press, 1992). [G,S] German WWI prisoners were housed in Madison County.
• The Stackhouses of Appalachia: Even to Our Own Times by Jacqueline Burgin Painter (Grateful Steps, 2006). [S] Thorough, well-researched account of Amos Stackhouse and Madison County community.
• Buncombe Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Rice Reynolds by Julian M. Pleasants (UNC Press, 2000). [G,S]
• Cradle of Forestry in America: The Biltmore school Forest School, 1898-1913 by Carl Alwin Schenck (Forest History Society, 1998). [G,S] By the founder of the first forestry school.
• Heart of the Blue Ridge, Highlands, North Carolina by Randolph P. Shaffner (Faraway, 2004). [G,S] A massive work.
• Highlands (Images of America) by Dr. Randolph Preston Shaffner (Arcadia trade paper, July 2008). Eminent historian of the region presents history in photo book format. [H,G,S]
• Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer among Singer by Betty N. Smith (U. of Kentucky Press, 1998). [H,G,S] Smith, Bluff Mountain ballad singer and playwright, writes about legendary Madison County ballad singer.
• A History of Buncombe County, North Carolina by F.A. Sondley (two volumes in one, Reprint Co., 1977). The standard work.
• The Legend of Nance Dude by Maurice Stanley. (1991; Bright Mountain, 2004). Surprisingly even-handed—and therefore mysterious—tale of woman who buried her granddaughter alive. [H,G]
• Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina by Richard Starnes (U. of Alabama Press, 2005). [G,S]
• Cabins & Castles: The History of Architecture of Buncombe County, NC by Douglas Swaim and others (Historical Resources Commission, 1981; facsimile edition, Historical Images, 2008).
Thousands of homes and buildings of historic note are documented. [G,S]
• Grandpa’s Town by Bob Terrell (1978). Tales of Asheville in its first two decades. [M,H,G]
• Zeb Vance: Champion of Personal Freedom by Glenn Tucker (Bobbs-Merrill, 1965). [H,G] Out of print.
• The Kingdom of Madison: A Southern Mountain Fastness and Its People by Manly Wade Wellman (1973; WorldComm, 1996). [G]
• Appalachia: A History by John Alexander Williams (UNC Press, 2002) [G,S]
• The New River Controversy: A New Edition by Thomas J. Schoenbaum, with an epilogue by R. Seth Woodard (McFarland & Co., 2007). [G,S]
• A Game Called Salisbury: The Spinning of a Southern Tragedy and the Myths of race” by Susan Barringer Wells (Infinity Publishing trade paperback, 2007. [G]
• Red Hill: The Untold Story of the Whitson Brothers and the Murder of Kit Byrd” by K.B. and S.R. Whitson. (865-457-0328). [G, S] Descendents well-researched account of a murder in the Red Hill community in Mitchell County.